Fireworks seized, vendor wants police to pay

A firework vendor says the New Zealand Police should pay for his entire stockpile of items which they seized during the first day of permitted sales.   

Don Gorrie was selling fireworks on the side of the road on Whakatane on November 2 when he was approached by an off-duty police officer. 

"The officer said I needed a licence to sell fireworks and I told him I didn't need one.

"I had checked with council to see if there were any bylaws I needed to comply with and there wasn't."

In New Zealand a vendor does not require a licence to sell fireworks so long as they are sold to people over 18 years of age and they have a test certificate. 

If more than 500 kilograms are sold at any one time an approved handler must be present.Don says he only had  about 200 - 250 kilograms.

"I was trying to get rid of them because you only have a few days to sell them each year." 

A uniformed officer arrived and seized the fireworks while Don was placed under arrest. He was subsequently released without any charges laid. 

"I kept asking what I was being charged with," he says.

"I had about $3000 to $5000 worth of fireworks.

"I consider the police to have purchased them as I've missed out a the first day of sales."

Inspector Kevin Taylor of the Bay of Plenty Police confirmed Gorrie's fireworks were seized as part of a routine check by an officer.

The check was under 114 of the Hazardous Substance and New Organism Act which stated a retailer must not sell fireworks unless a certificate for those fireworks that complies with regulation 10 has been issued. 

The fireworks were supplied by York, responsible for the Bad Boy brand of fireworks sold all over the Bay of Plenty Region.

"Given the circumstances Police had concerns that the fireworks on sale may not have had proper certification."

When asked why the goods were seized when Gorrie was released from arrest police responded, "The fact someone is released without charge does not necessarily mean an offence has not been committed.

"It also does not mean that Police wouldn't retain items suspected to be related to an offence.

"In this case there was a need to ensure the suspected offence did not continue, and as such, the goods were retained by Police."

Taylor said police have made attempts to contact Gorrie to arrange the legal return of the items but Gorrie has not attended the station to collect them. 

Gorrie said he received a phone message from Police on Saturday but it did not specify the return of his items. 

"It just said to contact Whakatane Police," he said. "It might sound arrogant but I was not going to be chasing after them.

"They are the ones that took them, no charges were laid, they had my address, so they should have brought them back."

-Stuff/Matt Shand



Posted on 10-11-2018 16:45 | By Slim Shady

According the article they weren’t illegal and he committed no offence. The Police have given a vague reference to an unspecified offence, they ’may’ have been committed, but have laid no charges. Maybe they realised someone acted unreasonably and trying to pull the wool. He did nothing wrong. Your point about banning all public sales I’d have to agree with, but until that is the law, Police can’t just go around confiscating people’s goods without good cause or establishing the facts.


Posted on 10-11-2018 16:34 | By groutby many seem so, you clearly want to comment about your personal thoughts against fireworks. This forum has allowed this, however, it would seem that he was not selling illegal fireworks, and we would have to accept that he did request age ID, we haven’t heard differently. If (and only IF) the facts are true as stated, there has clearly been a breach of duty here , at very least the off duty officer would appear to have been out of line without checking facts first, and if so, the arresting officer should be responsible for the outcome. Financial recompence and an apology is reasonable surely?

Well Done!

Posted on 10-11-2018 15:19 | By stokey

Congratulations to the Police Officer concerned. What a jerk selling this crap on the side of road and the bigger jerk criticising the Police for doing their job.


Posted on 10-11-2018 11:56 | By mlangdon

Why is he selling illegal fireworks on the side of the road, is he checking the age of his buyers, he deserves to have them confiscated, fireworks should be banned from public sale full stop!

A law unto themselves

Posted on 10-11-2018 07:52 | By Slim Shady

Disgusting arrogance and bullying. What’s the burglary detection rate?

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